In the third Dear Brother letter, Reese gets a tattoo and we meet Danny and Angie. Those who read my blog for the politics are starting to get confused. But it’s really a very political game!
I am putting this in first because I know sometimes you just read the first and the last to save time and it is very important that you read this. Do not go near Memphis until Bill Ruby has had a chance to calm down. While it is not my fault or your fault that Black got a little bit carried away in the poker game, I am thinking that Bill Ruby will be in no mood to see it that way. So it would be best to stay clear of Memphis for a while. It is a dying city anyhow.
Now I am sure that you will now be curious about the poker game so I will tell about that first. Ruby gave Black some of that Confederate money that we brought back from the old Baron and told him to make this Texan happy at the table. I think Black thinks this kind of thing is disrespectful to his skills and I would agree, but Ruby offered a good deal of money so Black said yes.
The game was on that old riverboat and Ruby will not set foot there. Also everyone there was gambling with Confederate money. I wish I had been there because I am suspecting Ruby knows more about things than he would admit to. The Texan I have mentioned called himself the Kingsnake. One of the other players at the table was Leo Gold. Leo is the lion who is king of the animals. The signs are coming clear. And the worst of it was this Annabelle girl Black met in the Ochopee post office was the dealer.
Now that you know about the poker game I will leave it for a while and tell you what Ben and Blind Joe did. Well, the first thing they did is found themselves a stray puppy named Annie who is a good Southern girl who got herself in with a bad Southern boy. No relation to us, ha ha. But I do not think you or I would desert a nice girl like Annie just because of some rock and roll groupies. Ma raised us better than that.
The second thing they did is all went to the Sun Record Company to record an album. I am not too clear on this but I guess since Blind Joe Biscuit is famous the folks at Sun let him do this. Annie sung backup. Ben has the song somehow on his little computer and what they made is something powerful. I did not really think the old man had it in him, to be honest. It is the kind of music you would not want to listen to after midnight, but it sure would like to be played right around that time. It is like a long straight road that somehow you can’t see more than a few yards down it but you know where it’s going anyhow, and at the end of the road there is nothing but a plain of ash and tears. I am of the opinion that Blind Joe knows what he is doing but I would not be in his shoes for a second. It is no wonder that he drinks.
Oh, and that makes me remember that some snake oil salesman came up to Ben and Annie and Blind Joe and tried to sell them some Amway scheme. Well, you will say, that is no surprise in Memphis. Well, I will agree with you, but the salesman called this thing “I AM.” You will remember that I did not tell you a piece of the story in my first letter, and I will not tell it to you now, but that man who owned the White Castle was a servant of I AM. These are more signs. I think there is a bad rain coming.
After the music the three of them bought some old folk album from one of the Sun Music gentlemen. It has Blind Joe on it, and it is all covered with symbols that Ben says are of alchemy. I guess it has meaning but it is no meaning I can puzzle out. I will let the man with the college education reckon on it. Also on the brown record (which Ben says is Jupiter) there was a song called Dan Siegel’s Grave, and if I have not said yet that Ben’s last name is Seigel then you know now. It was on the record right next to Blind Joe’s song. I guess it is good those two met.
Now I will tell you what I did during all this time, but this is another thing you should not tell Ma, not because I did anything to be shamed of but because of what happened and she will not understand. I had to get patched up for my leg was paining me fierce and Ruby knew someone who could do a quick job of it. Not a doctor, but a hoodoo man.
I went to him and he said he could do something for me but he would not charge me anything for it. Well, nothing comes for free. The deal as he set it out to me was that I would buy a tattoo from him and he would fix my leg. The bad part was that I could not choose the picture. It was like being in Key West with no choices, so I siad I guessed that would be fine. I know where he works so if he put anything I would be shamed of on my back I know where to go. I do not think that he did, though. He seemed like a decent man.
While he was doing the inking I had a dream, probably because of the mescaline he put in the inks. Another thing not to tell Ma. You can tell her about the dream, though, and she might even have something to say about it. I was driving on a road, and I came to a place where I could go two ways, one under the golden sun and one under the silver moon. I was unsure for a moment but I realized that I have been living on the midnight side of life for a long time now and Memphis is no place to make big decisions so I kept on the silver path. After all, Daddy made moonshine all his life.
Then I saw seven cities burning, all across the United States. One of them was a fountain and people were sipping at it when they should not have been, like they were stealing. One of them was a mountain. I do not know what the mountain was but the fountain was that whole mess in Florida. Then I looked out to the West and saw something cold and dark and ancient and evil. It put a fear in my heart and I am not a coward, you know that. But this is the place where the storm is coming from. So I will have to go there in the end.
I sort of woke up after that. You know how it is after you have been messed up on mescaline and things like that. Some big man who I now know is called Danny Greer took me by the hand and told me I was the King’s Herald. I know what you are thinking but this was not part of the dream. What he said was that I had to drive, and a bunch of other crazy things as well, but as much as I might wish that I could ignore crazy things I think that there is no good exit off this highway.
After that I am still a little blurry. We went to the riverboat and took Black out of his poker game, and then we got Annie and Ben and Blind Joe, and then we got on the old I-40 out of Memphis. I think we are going to New Orleans next but I-55 lost all the hoodoo when the national speed limit changed and it is not the river it once was. We can always double back when we need to. We will need to get another car, because I cannot fit six people in the Cadillac.
So as I write all this out to you I have been thinking, and this is what I have thought. The old Baron told us before he died that he had tried to make the roads his but learned that was foolish. That Wallace Church was the man who owned the White Castle, and that makes him a King. There were a couple of Kings at the poker game in Memphis, and this Danny person has something to do with Kings. Hell, our friend Marlin is a queen. It is all too obvious.
Now, America is not a land that needs a King. You go and look at Elvis and you will see a man who knew how to handle himself. He was the King for sure but he went off into the Army to show that he was not bigger than the land, and then he went to President Nixon and got himself sworn in as a deputy. A deputy is practically the opposite of a King. Elvis made sure that he wasn’t bigger than America. He did it right.
I think that there is someone out there doing it wrong. I do not know who but the signs are clear. So I think what I need to do is to go to all the people trying to be Kings in this land and make sure that they are not biting off more than they should chew, as they say. And if we find anyone trying to suck the life out of the land like those people in Florida we will do what we have to do. Because it is killing the roads and America is nothing without the roads.
Our first stop is New Orleans and maybe we can see if Blind Joe Biscuit can talk to the ghost of the old Kingfish Huey Long. I think that would be a good place to start. Then there is that Kingsnake from Texas that Black met, and I am wondering if maybe we cannot kill two birds with one stone because I bet that Black’s problems in Vegas have a King behind them. And I read in the paper that the basketball team in Sacramento is called the Kings and people think they may win the title this year which cannot be a coincidence. There is more but I will have to look harder to see it. They say there is an old man watching over I-93 up in New Hampshire, and 9 and 3 are important numbers what with the hoodoo square and all. Oh well. I will not try to think of it all at once no matter how much the last of that mescaline makes me want to.
Now that I am at the end of the letter I will tell you again to steer clear of Bill Ruby in case you read this first. If you want to know why you will just have to read the whole letter. Do not let Ma read it to you this time because she yelled at me for ten minutes on the phone the last time you got lazy.